Review: The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs

Being a Sim is not a lonely life. With plenty of family members surrounding them, friends throughout the many neighborhoods and a job that keeps them happy, what more could they need? Nothing! Wait… scratch that, why are there no animals? No Sim’s life would be complete if they couldn’t share it with their furry friends, and after much asking from the Sims community, EA and Maxis have answered with The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs finally a reality. It’s exactly what it sounds like and one of the best expansions for The Sims 4.

Cats & Dogs brings with it one of the best additions to The Sims 4 with the brand new Create-A-Pet mode. Create-A-Pet comes with a massive array of breeds for both cats and dogs, while also allowing the mixing of breeds. Of course, just like creating a Sim, creating an entirely new breed of animal is possible too, giving it custom ears, nose, etc. After creating the dream animal’s DNA comes picking things like what the coat will look like. If the breed options felt like variety, then choosing a coat and color for a Sims new friend is Adobe Photoshop. Without sounding cruel, it’s easy to spell words out on any animal creation or have entirely rainbow pet. It’s baffling how many options there are and makes for a ridiculous amount of fun when creating a new animal friend.

While it would be easy to spend all day creating the perfect pet, there’s more to Cats & Dogs than just playing god. Cats & Dogs hits the nail on the head in one area particularly: the responsibility, fun and stress that can come with having a furry friend in one’s home. Seeing that The Sims 4 already does a great job with the limitless interactions Sims can have, Cats and Dogs must match this too, and oh how it does. Just like a Sim, the new animal friends have personality traits. They can be playful or shy and so on, meaning unique animals that Sims must meet the needs of. Taking care of an animal is harder than it looks and it will take some time for Sims to get to know and train their new friends. It’s not uncommon for poop accidents to happen in the home and if a door remains locked (because you don’t want the pets getting out) then it’s on you. The new animal friends, like the Sims, are good about letting their needs be known, behaving as such with an appropriate thought bubble or through interaction with a specific thing.

Cats & Dogs also comes with unique activities for a Sims-desired companion along with many new furnishings/home design to match these activities. Say they have a cat, well get out that laser pointer, or maybe the dog wants to play fetch, better buy a ball from the animal toy-box. If not careful, pets will act on their own, leading to things like wandering off the property or getting in a neighbor’s trash. With a wide variety of things to do, it’s easy to keep any pet occupied or just use the old trick of turning off autonomy. Training out bad habits is a must, otherwise that animal handling mentioned earlier will take up much of a Sim’s time. After a few rounds of training, though, soon a Sim will have the best pet ever and be proud to take them around the neighborhoods like the all new Brindleton Bay.

Brindleton Bay is the latest neighborhood to debut with Cats & Dogs and it’s the quaint beach-side town of a Sim’s dreams. Another fantastic addition to an already stellar line-up of neighborhoods, Brindleton Bay feels authentic. The sights and sounds of the neighborhood convey perfectly living in a sleepy little beach side town that has only the problems of the residence that live there. The topographical lay of the land makes for some wonderful dog walks and meeting others at the beach is even nice on a cloudy day. There’s also the addition of a new business moving into town. With the arrival of Sims new animal friends, they’ll need someone to check up on them, and who better than the local Veterinarian clinic?

Maybe a Sim loves animals so much they just need to be around them at all times and it’s more than possible with the veterinarian clinic. Unfortunately, being a Vet isn’t like taking another job, but instead a business, meaning the only option for becoming a Vet is buying a clinic, which can be an expensive endeavor.

Like any business in the Sims, it can either be built from the ground up or a pre-built location/operation can be purchased for a flat sum. The going price for the clinic in Brindleton Bay is around $80,000 which my Sim happily paid. From here being a Vet is actually a fun gig. Cats & Dogs has streamlined the operation making it an enjoyable experience. A Sim can treat patients to their hearts content, playing out a fun mini-game of checking different areas of the patient and keeping them calm through the examination. If able to diagnose all the correct symptoms of the pet, then the proper treatment can be given indicated by a green thumbs-up or the opposite for the wrong treatment. Customers will rate the clinics service leaving reviews with handy feedback. Opening and closing shop is entirely up to the Sim depending on how much good work is being done and just like other perks in the Sims, achievement points can be used to purchase special rewards for the clinic. Running a Vet clinic is fine and all, but hiring extra hands isn’t a bad idea either.

It wouldn’t be a Sims game without some minor difficulties and Cats & Dogs is no exception. The entire time my Sim has had her dog, Doug, he has maintained a steady fear of almost everything in the house and it’s impossible to calm him down. Doug remains in a constant state of being uncomfortable, even after swapping out certain furnishings with others. Or the time at the Vet Clinic when before an examination one of my Sim’s patients stood up on their hind legs and twisted like a noodle for a good minute. These are minor technical difficulties, giving cause to chuckles more than frustration.

Closing Comments:

The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is an excellent — and much-needed — addition to an already fantastic game. The Sims has always been about living one’s best life and this grants more ways to accomplish that. This is the perfect game for any animal lover and the amount of customization in creating and interacting with pets makes for a joyous time. The new Brindleton Bay neighborhood makes for the perfect setting to get acquainted with these furry friends. Aside from some needed technical tweaking, Cats & Dogs is barking proudly as a must-have expansion for The Sims 4.